Despite learning that I may never live in a Beach Bathing Box, getting to spend a few moments in life learning about the talents of Melbourne photographer Paul Tadday was a pleasure. To be fair, I just learned about these picturesque boxes so I can’t be that saddened. And really, how could I? Paul is a photographer that just doesn’t do music or landscapes or even pets. He does all of that and then some. Yes, while some photographers find one sort of subject and roll with it for life, Paul’s not about limiting where and what his lens captures. Just so long as it’s a joyful time. Now let’s get on with even more joyful times…
Kendra: Your work covers so many styles, subjects, and genres. Where did you start out though and did you know then that you’d later expand into doing as much as you do?
Paul Tadday: I grew up with a tremendous love for music and the visual arts. I used to love drawing as a kid and spent heaps of hours drawing the album covers of my favourite bands. Eventually, I finished up in the printing industry, where a keen eye for detail and colour was essential. Photography was something I just dabbled in, much like anyone else would, with a point and click or entry-level SLR camera.
Once I started traveling in the mid-‘90s I became more fascinated with photography and the passion really grew from there. Having a musical background, it also made sense to expand from landscape photography into shooting live music. Eventually, I’d feel the urge to try all genres of photography; and I’ve discovered that landscapes, music and animal photography are my passions.
Kendra: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout the years as you tackle a new arena of photography? Because I imagine music photography does differ from pets just as that differs from landscapes.
Paul Tadday: Practice, patience, and persistence! The basics of photography never change. The exposure triangle, compositional rules, etc, are always the basis of what you do. Everything else is adapting to your subject and environment, and understanding how to achieve the artistic look you might be going for. Experimenting is always fun. Never be afraid to fail, that’s how you learn.
Kendra: Speaking of pets, that has to be my absolute favorite thing you do because – who doesn’t love looking at cute animals? When you work with the “furkids,” do you meet the animals beforehand to get a grasp of their personalities for the shoot?
Paul Tadday: It really depends on the situation. I do some voluntary work for animal shelters where you really don’t have that opportunity. But with clients, I send out a questionnaire, which helps to give me some background of their pet’s personality. At the start of the shoot, I play with them (the furkid, not their hooman!) and earn their trust, which makes it a lot easier to work with them. You really need to let them set the pace and do their ‘own thing’ to an extent. That way the shots are natural and reflect more of their personality.
Kendra: Being based in Melbourne, it’d be crazy not to take full advantage of the landscapes that surround you. One shot that caught my eye was the one featuring the vibrant, beautiful Beach Bathing Boxes. As someone who’s never heard of those…what are they and can I get a Visa, move down there, and live in one?
Paul Tadday: Haha!! The bathing boxes are scattered around the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula here in Melbourne. Some are over 150 years old and are heritage listed. Privately owned, they have always been a bit of a status symbol of the affluent and wealthy. They can fetch up to $500k when they go up for sale (which is rare). They are basically just old wooden beach huts, used by locals to store their beach gear. They’re very much a tourist attraction down here and look fantastic in photos.
Kendra: All in all, you’ve noted that no matter what the picture you’re all about capturing those joyful times to offset the negative bias of always falling back on the bad moments in our lives. For you, what’s the one joyful time in your life you’d want in photo form that you don’t have already?
Paul Tadday: There are probably quite a few. But I was married in 2014 and believe it or not, we didn’t have a photographer for the day. It was a small gathering of family and close friends in our favourite Melbourne restaurant, so only happy snaps were taken. I’d probably change that.
Kendra: Lastly, can you tell the people what you have going on in the coming months? Can they get a session?
Paul Tadday: At the moment I’m putting together a doggy calendar for 2020, comprised of images of dogs that have been adopted and re-homed. It’s to help give a bit back to the charities that I’ve worked with, but also to encourage people to adopt and give a doggo a second chance at a happy life.
I have quite a few concerts lined up to shoot in the back half of the year. I’m also hoping to spend more time out and about capturing some sunsets. And I’m always happy to accept new clients for headshots and sessions for their “furkid!”